What is a “NEET” and Why Does it Matter to Rural Ontario?
NEETs are not a new invasive biting insect but a classification used to better understand and describe the employment status of young Canadians. Those classified as “NEET” are those not in employment, education or training. Data from the Labour Force Survey are used to classify young people according to three mutually exclusive categories: young people in education, young people who work and no longer attend school, and young people who are NEETs, that is, not in employment or education.
A recent Statistics Canada study published July 7 puts the proportion of 20- to 24-year-olds in this NEET group across Ontario at about 13% (one percentage point higher than the national average and higher than BC, Yukon, Quebec and Saskatchewan). Aboriginal individuals are more likely to be classified as in a NEET situation but overall “In 2018/2019, NEET rates of young people aged 20 to 24 were generally not significantly different between population centres and rural areas. However, young people aged 20 to 24 in rural areas were more likely to work and no longer be in school, while the same group in population centres was more likely than rural youth to still be in school.”
Many rural regions in Ontario are seeking to boost their labour force as those currently in the core labour force age out and fewer youth are entering. Thus this group of youth 20 to 24 is of concern. The study suggests that support is needed so that this demographic avoids a life-long dependence on social assistance and/or chronically low income situations. This support could come in the form of programs that can boost successful school-to-work transitions and improve rates of completion of studies which could have long-term benefits not only for work force reasons but also for many other social outcomes.
Interested readers can access the full report here: The transition from school to work: the NEET (not in employment, education or training) indicator for 20- to 24-year-olds in Canada.